Data Science Definition

A precise Data Science definition is not easy to come up with, but as a rule of thumb, one could say, data science is a field that involves extracting insights and knowledge from data using various statistical and computational methods. Data science involves using methods from the fields of statistics, computer science, and mathematics. The amounts of data available in modern society grow with the input of technology into people’s lives. These massive sets of structured and unstructured data help to show patterns and trends for business opportunities or academic research. One can see an increasing number of traditional fields of science with adjectives ‘computational’ or ‘quantitative’. In industry, data science transforms everything from healthcare to media and this trend shall pick up in the future.

An example of a data science project would be analyzing a dataset of customer information for a company to gain insights into their behavior and preferences. The process might involve the following steps:

  1. Data collection: Collecting customer data from various sources such as surveys, social media, or transaction records.
  2. Data cleaning and preprocessing: Preparing the data for analysis by removing duplicates, filling in missing values, and converting data into a usable format.
  3. Exploratory data analysis (EDA): Exploring the data to understand its properties and relationships using statistical measures, visualizations, and summary statistics.
  4. Feature engineering: Selecting and transforming relevant variables that will be used in the analysis.
  5. Model selection and training: Selecting appropriate machine learning models that will be used to predict customer behavior and preferences based on the available data. Examples of models include decision trees, logistic regression, and neural networks.
  6. Model evaluation and optimization: Assessing the performance of the model using various metrics and fine-tuning it to improve its accuracy and generalization.
  7. Deployment and monitoring: Deploying the model in a production environment and monitoring its performance to ensure it continues to provide accurate insights.

Python is a popular programming language that is widely used for data science because of its ease of use, a vast collection of libraries, and strong support for data analysis and visualization.

Data Science from Scratch: First Principles with Python

Data science libraries, frameworks, modules, and toolkits are great for doing data science, but they’re also a good way to dive into the discipline without actually understanding data science. In this book, you’ll learn how many of the most fundamental data science tools and algorithms work by implementing them from scratch.

If you have an aptitude for mathematics and some programming skills, author Joel Grus will help you get comfortable with the math and statistics at the core of data science, and with hacking skills you need to get started as a data scientist. Today’s messy glut of data holds answers to questions no one’s even thought to ask. This book provides you with the know-how to dig those answers out.

Get a crash course in Python
Learn the basics of linear algebra, statistics, and probability—and understand how and when they’re used in data science
Collect, explore, clean, munge, and manipulate data
Dive into the fundamentals of machine learning
Implement models such as k-nearest Neighbors, Naive Bayes, linear and logistic regression, decision trees, neural networks, and clustering
Explore recommender systems, natural language processing, network analysis, MapReduce, and databases